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One of the things I enjoy is running.

In the past few years have taken up trail running and doing ultra-marathons (runs over 42.2km).  Yes, my wife thinks that I am mad and there have been times that I also questioned my own sanity; both when entering and on the run itself.

Having grown up in country areas – firstly Cudlee Creek and then Ki Ki in the south east – I really enjoy running off-road; away from other people where you can enjoy the scenery, wildlife and immerse yourself in the serenity. I don’t run with music – I have tried it in the past, but find it distracting and prefer to be able to think and clear my head.

I recently competed in, and really enjoyed, the 80km Cradle Mountain Run in Tasmania It is such a unique run; the oldest ultra trail run in Australia. Only allowing 60 runners per competition means that it is really hard to get into – entries fill in less than 5 minutes.

I completed the run and came 45th out of 59 runners with a time of 13 hours and 47 minutes. As a first attempt at this run, I was really pleased with my time and place!

I had plenty of time to think and it occurred to me that ultra-marathons and trail-runs often reflect what we go through in both life and business. 

You need to prepare

To do Cradle Mountain you need to:

  • Meet entry requirements
  • Train
  • Take the necessary gear (there is a list of items you need to carry e.g. chocolate … yes they recommended 200g of chocolate as emergency food)

You need to adapt

What you plan to do on the run often changes due to weather, how you feel and other unexpected conditions. I often find that my food plan goes ‘out the window’ … it did again on Cradle Mountain! I ate too much early and had to change my eating plan to get back on track.

For work, in January, I prepared a plan for things I wanted to do in the next 6 months. While most are to plan, a lot have had timeframes moved and some have even been cancelled as I’ve worked out that the expected benefits aren’t likely.

Have the right mindset

You need to keep your head in the right mental space. As the run is such a long time on your feet, your mind can start playing tricks on you: “have I missed a turnoff”, “my leg is sore”, “am I going to make it”. And then there’s that big question: “Why am I doing this?”.  Business is the same. If you focus on the wrong things too much – like your competitors – you can lose focus on what you are doing and why you are doing it.

Rest and recover

After the run, you need to rest and recover. The morning after the run, I sat down with a coffee, posted on Facebook about the run and ate my emergency chocolate.  Owning a business is the same: if you don’t take a break, sit back and recognise the hard work you’ve done and celebrate your successes, other areas of your life will suffer. I have learnt this and now make sure that I get time off (read about how taking a break really helped my business in this article).

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